Shred the cabbage the pack a couple of inches thick in the bottom of the pail, sprinkle about a tablespoon of kosher salt on it then pack a couple more inches in and then another Tbs of salt...repeat until you are out of cabbage or the pail is 3/4 full, whichever comes first. Put the plate in with the weight on top (by this time the cabbage will have bled enough liquid that the cabbage should be submerged). It is important to keep the cabbage below the surface of the liquid. Cover with a cloth, put in a cool place for at least 4 weeks (but 6 weeks is better, 8 is better still).
Skim the stuff off the top of the liquid (if there is any) before lifting the weight and plate and retrieving the sauerkraut.
A lot of people like putting other stuff in with the cabbage at the start (the fermenting cabbage will preserve other fruits and veggies as long as they stay mixed in with the cabbage and below the surface). A lot of folks around here like to throw in apple slices and carroway seeds (which I consider to be an affront to all humanity). I don't like sweet or fruity sauerkraut...I prefer it as just plain old cabbage sauerkraut. Every once in a great while I'll chop up 4 or 5 habanero peppers and add them to the mix (about 1 pepper per layer), but I have to eat that whole batch by myself (nobody else seems to want more after 1 taste).
I like Sauerkraut raw best, but will cook it along with sausages (like DocWils mentioned) or with a pork loin.